Does an Uncharacterized Discharge Qualify for VA Benefits?

Here’s a question from one of our readers: “I was given an uncharacterized discharge from the Tennessee Army National Guard. This isn’t a dishonorable discharge by any means, so am I owed any VA benefits? Do I need a lawyer to get these benefits?”

Answer: Yes! You can almost certainly get VA benefits ― but with claims at record highs right now, it might be faster if a lawyer helps you.

Is an Uncharacterized Discharge Bad?

No! An uncharacterized discharge is not the same thing as a dishonorable one. In fact, an uncharacterized discharge or “entry level separation” just means you left before completing 180 days of military service.

PRO TIP: Download this fact sheet on the character of discharge and VA benefits.

Title 38 of the United States Code determines a veteran’s eligibility for VA benefits and services according to discharge status. You can receive uncharacterized discharge VA benefits and services because your separation was “under other than dishonorable conditions,” according to the VA.

Should I Hire a Veterans Benefits Attorney if I Have an Uncharacterized Discharge?

Navigating the VA benefits system can be complex. Working with an expert makes it easier so you can concentrate on getting better and relax knowing you filed everything correctly.

Some vets with uncharacterized discharges may secure veterans’ benefits the first time without professional help. But for many, working with a VA-accredited lawyer gives them the best chance of approval and maximizes their monthly pay amount. This is especially true for complicated claims or vets with previous claim denials.

An accredited veterans’ benefits attorney automatically has the VA’s approval to assist vets. Further, a lawyer knows all current rules and regulations around the claims process.

IMPORTANT: A recent annual report from the Board of Veterans’ Appeals shows that vets with lawyers were most likely to win benefits on appeal. In addition, the VA was most likely to reject benefits for veterans who filed claims on their own without attorneys in 2022.

Check out these resources:

What Types of Conditions May Qualify for VA Disability Benefits?

The VA provides disability benefits for many different conditions that may arise from your military service, such as:

Take Action to Get the Benefits You Deserve

If you received an uncharacterized discharge and need help getting VA disability benefits, talk to an attorney for free. We can match you with one who’s available to help you today.

A VA-accredited lawyer won’t charge anything to help you file claims, appeal a denial, or give specific answers for your situation. They also won’t take on cases they don’t believe qualify for benefits.

Best of all, if they don’t win a cash settlement for you, then you pay $0 for legal assistance. And if you win, then you’ll only pay one small fee after the VA notifies you of your award.

Want a local VA claims expert to get in touch? Click the button below to sign up for a free phone call and get expert help at no cost to you today:

Get Your Free Benefits Evaluation

Margot Lester is the CEO ofThe Word Factory,a B2B & B2C content marketing agency that provides services for Fortune 100 brands, healthtech companies and SaaS developers. An award-winning business and brand journalist, she writes for daily and weekly newspapers and business journals, national magazines, in-flight publications and leading websites. Margot is also an in-demand writing coach and organizational communications trainer,helping individuals and teams write more effectively. Twitter/